back to article Wolfenstein 3D shoots onto web

Classic proto first-person shooter Wolfenstein 3D is now free to play, courtesy of developer Bethesda. The game that paved the way for Doom was released by iD Software 20 years ago, and Bethesda has written it up in handy cross-platform browser form. Wolfenstein 3D Once again you can dash through single-storey mazed - with …


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  1. Jan Hargreaves

    Gameplay is horrible. I'll stick with DosBox for playing this.

    1. Ian Ferguson

      At least it's easier to play than the iOS version. Strafing, turning and shooting at the same time is kind of tricky with a touchscreen.

    2. Turtle

      Gameplay. Or something like it.

      "Gameplay is horrible. I'll stick with DosBox for playing this."

      Coincidentally I bought Wolfenstein 3D, Spear Of Destiny (which includes the "Lost Levels" according to what I have read) and Return To Castle Wolfenstein, for about $3.50 for the lot a few days ago on Steam. I haven't had a chance to play it yet, aside from Return To Castle Wolfenstein, which I bought on CD years ago and have played numerous times.

      But if the Steam version of Wolfenstein 3D has the same unusable control scheme as does the browser version, then the Steam account to which I am going to register the games will be sold on eBay. (One reason for my dissatisfaction is that the browser version does not support my mouse at all, in spite of having enabled mouse suppor. But this could be a function of using an unsupported browser, very possibly.)

  2. Shades

    Doesn't seem...

    ... to want to work with the latest Firefox but does with Iron Portable.

    1. Shane8

      Re: Doesn't seem...

      works fine on 12.0.

      1. L.B
        Thumb Down

        Re: Doesn't seem...

        "works fine" is pushing it, the lag was lower on 80286 than with this.

        Ridiculous to build a classic that is effectively unplayable due to the incredibly slow responses, even running it a machine that is many 1000s times faster than the originals PC's it ran on.

    2. Shades

      El Reg Votards...

      ... just get weirder and weirder! A downvote for a simple statement of my experience of getting the game to run? I'm inclined to suspect that its from a Firefox fanboy which confuses me as mentioning Firefox first would, to me at least, suggest I use Firefox as my main browser with Iron (Chrome without all the Google tracking crap) as a backup.

      FWIW I just tried it in Firefox (12) again and it still doesn't want to work (obviously with NoScript allowing Javascript, CookieMonster allowing cookies, etc, just like the first time). The "splash" screen appears, fades out and then nothing.

      1. Aaron Em

        Nothing attracts downvotes

        like whining about downvotes.

      2. Turtle

        @Shades: Re: El Reg Votards...

        Pay no mind to the downvotes. If you were to post a comment about tomorrow's weather, it would get downvoted by people who either 1) thought your prediction was wrong, or 2) downvoted you because they had a trip to the beach planned and did not like your forecast, irrespective of it being right or wrong. Downvotes have no meaning whatsoever.

        (While it might be nice to say that downvotes are an inverse indicator of insightfulness and perspicacity, in truth they really have no larger meaning.)

        What I found interesting about your post was your mention of Iron, which is/was entirely unknown to me. I am using Firefox 3 for the sole reason that it is the best of a bad lot, but possibly might upgrade to Iron.

        Thank you for the tip.

      3. Lallabalalla

        Re: El Reg Votards...

        I got the same non-event on IE9

  3. BorkedAgain

    Well, there goes my Friday...

    That is all.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It works on my WP7, you can navigate the menus with the touchscreen, start the game and then stand still in the first room, because there is no way to control the character with the touchscreen...

    1. ThomH

      Re: WP7

      It's the same on iOS, with the extra caveat that they've disabled pinch zoom so you can't even see the whole screen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WP7

        Likewise on the playbook. I got the fade-to-black thing after the first load (when i got stuck after going to the sound menu and being unable to press escape) but furious tapping as tye main fade happened convinced it to load (!?).

        I think it might have partially worked if it allowed fullscreen, but the top menu bar (even the mini one) caused touch movements to scroll instead of registering as mouse commands.

        It looked crazy slow during the load slide-in, but that might have been an anomaly.

        Nobody mentioned that it apparently uses webGL? At least, my browser warned me about it. I'm not too worried on my playbook though - now -there's- a case of security by obscurity for you...

  5. Godwhacker
    Thumb Down

    Groundbreaking, 20 year old game appears on web

    all people can do is talk about how well it works on their fucking browser.

    1. the-it-slayer

      Re: Groundbreaking, 20 year old game appears on web

      Ditto. Nobody gives a crap on how the dev got it ported. The expectation is over the moon for "performance". Get some beer down your neck bemoaners, it's Friday!

      1. Eddie Edwards

        Re: Groundbreaking, 20 year old game appears on web

        It's raycasting in Javascript, which explains its poor performance, then it's using the browser to scale the image slices:

        When I ported this to ARM in 1994, John Carmack suggested using BSP trees for rendering; it would have been much faster but I was too far along to replace my renderer. If they did that here I think it would pretty much fly.

        It is very sad that modern GHz+ processors with JIT Javascript still can't beat an 8MHz ARM2 :(

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Groundbreaking, 20 year old game appears on web

          Unless there's some arbitrary limit on execution time, I don't see why this shouldn't flyon modern hardware. It's 64000 pixels - you could damn near do it in text with a tiny block font. Hell, fullscreen it on my 30" monitor and each pixel could be an 8x6 character matrix!

          Man, that puts things in perspective...

          1. James Hughes 1

            Re: Groundbreaking, 20 year old game appears on web

            Ditto again, and a big thumbs down to all the downvoters, who obviously are completely twunts, incapable of writing efficient software.

            Works absolutely fine on my desktop here, running XP and Chrome.

            Anon, 'cos I called the downvoters twunts.

  6. dogged

    it always looks like Lego Nazis to me.

    1. ravenviz

      That's what I saw as well, I had to squint to see a Jerry guard!

  7. johnnytruant


    Watch Carmack playing, and talking about, Wolf 3D here.

    He sounds like such a stereotypical nerd. Massive, massive respect for the guy though. You know you've made it when you can start your own space programme just for fun.

  8. Richard 31
    Paris Hilton


    Can someone explain to me how i can remember exactly how to march through this game, knowing every turn and door to take, where the secrets are etc, despite having not played it since i had my 80386, but i can't remember where my sodding socks are in the morning?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Memory

      Sure: How many times did you put your socks down where-ever they are: likely, once.

      How many times did you play Wolfenstein? Likely, many more times than that.

      How much attention did you pay putting your socks down last night? Likely, not much: you had bigger things to think about.

      How much attention to playing Wolfenstein did you pay? Likely, a lot.

    2. Alan Dougherty
      Thumb Up

      Re: Memory

      386? You where late to the party my friend.. in my day, I had this running on my 286, with onboard speaker for sound.. etc etc

      I'd have loved a 386, but was too busy slapping the side of my Amstrad to get the HDD spindle to 'unstick' on boot..

      1. Patrick R

        Re: My computer was more outdated than yours

        286 µP out in 1982, the 386 in 1985, (and 486 in 1989).

        The game came out in 92. How does that translate into "you were late to the party" ?

  9. NogginTheNog

    S'not the same

    I don't have to select my soundcard before I can get started :-(

    1. Tom 13

      Re: S'not the same

      I wanna play the really real original - you know, the one where the sound card was irrelevant because there weren't any and you had to select your screen resolution first. Okay, I may have made that last bit up. Apple always were anal about their hardware configurations, and I don't remember starting the game exactly, but I do remember watching it in pixelled amber, and always being amused when I was down to "1 bullets left." And yeah, I played it at a friend's house because we didn't own a computer.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: S'not the same

        Amber? Apple? Wolf 3D?


        1. Tom 13

          Re: S'not the same

          Youn'ins! No respect for where the game concepts for the came from.

          It was Castle Wolfenstein, and no it wasn't in 3-D, but it was the original. Just you, stuck in a room inside a Nazi prison camp. You somehow had wrangled a gun and 10 bullets and were now tasked with breaking out of the castle. Standard guards went down with one shot, but you could waste an entire clip on an SS trooper with a flack jacket. Only sure way to take them out was with a hand grenade. Which of course you got from SS troopers wearing flack jackets. I never did make it to the end of the game. And as far as I know, it was never released on the PC.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: S'not the same

            I'm afraid I'm not terribly young'in anymore, Tom. Young'er than most who might say "young'ins", but not all that young nevertheless.

            Of course I know Castle Wolfenstein, but as you wrote, you didn't *say* Castle Wolfenstein; the post was regarding *Wolfenstein 3D*, which is unrelated aside from its involving Nazis and a castle. So it's not relly the 'original' Wolfenstein; it's not the same developers; it's not Wolf3D's prequel; Wolf3D is not its sequel.

            For all intents and purposes, it's an entirely different game - no more the 'original' Wolfenstein 3D than Xerox Parc's OS was 'the original Windows' or 'the original MacOS'.

            Now, you want an obscure vintage video game - how about LADDER, which was a bundled game (ha, ha) with the NCR Decisionmate V, a computer so slow that by the time you managed to load a program and start doing something, you'd already sold the computer and bought a better one.

            At any rate, it was an infuriatingly hard text-mode platformer, a bit like donkey kong in that its main enemies were a bunch of 'o's that rolled around on floors:

            o o o

            ==================== ==============

            ...and your dude would stand there:

            o o o p

            ==================== ==============

            He'd be a 'p' and 'q' if standing up and facing right or left, and if he jumped in the air he'd flip around - p b q p d ... clever, eh?

            So you'd go, right, right, right, and try to jump over that hole:

            o o o p

            ==================== ==============

            ...but the rocks were rather fast and the keyboard sucked, so when you slammed the floppy space bar down, maybe your dude jumped and maybe he didn't. By which I mean to say, he didn't:

            o o op

            ==================== ==============

            TRY AGAIN?

            Try again? Are you kidding me? After that BS? I'm 8 years old and this miserable Decisionmate V is all I have because even my dad couldn't stand the thing and bought himself a 286 with an EGA monitor, and this says it's MS DOS but really it's not so no PC software works and all I have is this stupid game with some CPM thing that just goes "?" "?" all the time! And I'll never ever get another computer with a color monitor or a Nintendo because my dad doesn't like games! So I can't even play any games! And this game is stupid and I've never gotten past level two, and it makes me want to implode!

            Of *COURSE* I'll try again!

  10. div0

    another javascript option

    The original shareware sorta runs in the javascript port of dosbox: (best in chrome)

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Not ready for primetime...

    Crashes SR-Ware Iron v18 when you close the tab after playing. Also bad lag (on a fast Ultrabook).

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